GCL Meatballs #166: It's always better on holiday
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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You have reached the GCL Swedish Meatballs, a division of BGG's Game Chat League. For more on GCLs, click here, and for the Meatball Subscription page, click here.

Civil contributions from non-members are fine (leave the incivility to members, please), and we do ask that nonmembers please not add list items. Members are to add list items to discuss what they played that week.

Rotation:
Osirus ← up next
Jythier
fateswanderer
sgosaric
qwertymartin
Hanibalicious
lacxox
cymric
Jugular
bnordeng
NateStraight
ellephai
AAArg_ink
rarevos

Since I've just got back from holiday and we seem to be taking a bit of a holiday from the regular rotation, I thought this was an appropriate theme!
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1. Board Game: Holiday! [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:9520]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Have you been/are you going on holiday/vacation this year? Where to?
 
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2. Board Game: The Child Awareness Game [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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What kind of family holidays/vacations did you have as a child? Has that influenced the kind of holidays you like to take as an adult?
 
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3. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4191]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Ever met up with any gamers in other cities/countries while on holiday there?
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4. Board Game: Convention! [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Justus
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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Have you ever traveled to a convention, gaming or otherwise? Do you use them as your vacation?
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5. Board Game: Slappy Hands [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Johannes cum Grano Salis
United States
Finger Lakes
New York
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"It's not hard to design a game that works, the real challenge is making one that people want to play again and again."--Martin Wallace
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Sorry, everyone. I’ve been a non-meatball lately, but that’s not changing any time soon. I also apologize I wasn’t clearer when I emailed about skipping my rotation spot; Martin told me you were all waiting on a list from me, but I thought I was at the bottom of the queue and didn’t think I was holding anything up.

Anyway, I just now caught up on play logging for the last few weeks, which, as Martin mentions upthread, included this rather memorable weekend:

Princes of the Renaissance (6p)
Palastgefluster (5p)
Age of Steam: China (5p)
Volta (2p)

Metropolys x2 (4p)
1846 (5p)
Lexio (5p)
Filipino Fruit Market (5p)

Abluxxen (5p)
Marracash (4p)
Red x2 (3p)
Pax Porfiriana (3p)
Fauna (6p)
Stephenson's Rocket (3p)
Port Royal (3p)
Chronicle (3p)
Karensansui (3p)
Tigris & Euphrates (4p)
Santiago (5p)
Gipsy Kings (5p)

Kakerlakenpoker Royal (6p)
Spot It (5p)
Slappy Hands (6p)
Snapshot (6p)

Slide 5 x2 (7p)

Bold means the game was new-to-me, and italics means I played it with Martin.

It was exhausting and brilliant and wonderful, and I don’t yet feel fully recovered. My brain still hurts, so does my liver, and so does my side from laughing so much. Too many highlights to recount. Any questions about something in particular, ask away.

Jimmy Okolica
United States
Washington Township
Ohio
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and his girlfriend were wonderful hosts, and in addition to meeting Martin, it was also great to finally meet Geekbuddies-and-now-Realbuddies

Daniel Kenel
United States
New London
Iowa
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Joel J
United States
Iowa City
IA
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Bryan Maxwell
United States
Burtchville
Michigan
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in person.

I leave you with an image of one of the few times Martin and I were not laughing in our games of Red:



I actually don’t know what we’re doing here, as it’s not a game with much rules ambiguity. But it was a delightful game, and I ordered a copy not long after arriving home.

In non-gaming news, I’m still working too much in advance of the baby coming. We’re at 35 weeks, my wife is slowing way down, and I’m officially done traveling, even for my game nights (so last weekend was a last hurrah, but what a last hurrah). So I likely won’t have much going on other than the usual two-player or PBEM stuff for the next few months. Realistically, I’m a casual observer for a few months.

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6. Board Game: Red7 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:545]
Martin G
United Kingdom
Bristol
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...and here's my list. I arrived a couple of days after the other guys but I still got plenty of games (and beers!) in.

Sunday

Fauna - great way to get to know everyone.
Pax - brutal as ever. DJ destroyed me.
Red x2 - delightfully simple new Chudyk game, very impressed.
Volta - mildly diverting dexterity game.
Stephenson's Rocket - I love this game! It was great to get a chance to play it with people who'd played before.
Port Royal - I brought my copy over, John and Bryan seemed to enjoy it.
Chronicle - good to play this after a long break.
6 Nimmt - mainly chosen for player count, no one else seems to love it nearly as much as I do.

Monday

Karensansui - interesting 'backwards' auction game in which low bids win and you're trying to avoid collecting sets.
Clubs - Jimmy's 8yo daughter joined us and did just great.
Little Prince - not at its best with 5p but still fun.
Taj Mahal - I've realised I'm just not very good at this one!
Santiago - perfect for a bunch of cutthroat bastards such as we had assembled.
Gipsy King - OK Euro-abstract that I suspect would have been better with 3p than 5.
Spot It! - showed everyone the 'hot potato' version, great fun as ever.
Tigris & Euphrates - just had to get this played!
Kakerlakenpoker Royal - turned out to really not be Jimmy's thing at all and John administered a mercy-killing.
Slappy Hands - ludicrous 'dexterity' game in which you try to grab beer-caps with sticky hands. Perfect for the time of night and alcohol level.
Snapshot - flicking game that I'd never have guessed Dorn designed. Seemed quite fun but broken with 6p.
6 Nimmt - Jimmy decided this made a great drinking game. No one else joined in, but he had fun

There was also lots of time in between games for chatting, eating, drinking and playing outdoor games (Cornhole and Molkky). It was a wonderful weekend thanks to Jimmy and his girlfriend's hosting and the great cast of characters.

Makes me all the more keen to make MeatballCon happen some day!
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7. Board Game: Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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So, while Martin, John, Jimmy & co. were having fun, playing a lot, I went to Eger with my son Miska and my first daughter Borcsa on Monday and we visited lots of places (see above at the weekly topic). Still, we had two small boxes with us so we played a bit even there (they demanded it). We came home on Friday but they demanded some playing even after that.

I played with Saci only once, today:
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland - I think I should play it more to know how much I like it. The high point values assigned to the tickets are a bit strange for sure, but they might be balanced. The bridge toll idea makes the game and the rules a bit fiddlier than in a usual Ticket to Ride game which should be a problem but is not. But the neutral player used in the 2-player game is a bit painful to administrate, and you just lose focus during game. (I won, 198:175.)

Oh, and also Carcassonne: South Seas with Miska and her; Saci won by 29:22:22.

And with the kids (most of these plays happened in Eger) :

Circus Flohcati 5x with Miska who really enjoys this one (so do I, even though it's really not a 2-player game). He usually sleeps less than his sister so in the mornings he came silently to my bed and asked me to play with him until she woke up. Then we used to go to the balcony and play there.
And nowadays we play with the extra rule not featured in some editions: get 10 points for finishing the game with 10 colors in hand. This is such a fine little game that I really wonder if Port Royal could really improve this system by making it more gamery.

Catan Dice Game 4x with Miska - well, it's really multiplayer solitaire (unlike Catan Dice Game Plus) but it's nice to see that his score improves with each play (just like mine, which unfortunately means he's yet to win once against me - but when he played against Saci today, he won easily.)

Old Maid 3x - My daughter Borcsa really likes her Tinkerbell old maid set and she takes it with her everywhere. Old maid is not a game I would ever suggest playing, but I am proud of her pushing this game so I'm always happy to play with her.

Animal Upon Animal 2x with both kids

My beautiful Pony 2x with both kids

Kangaroo 2x with both kids

Keltis: Der Weg der Steine Mitbringspiel 2x with Miska

Heckmeck Junior
1x with both kids

Ribbit 1x with both kids - hey, since they changed the name of the game in the database (from Schildkrötenrennen) I always have to look it up to know what it is actually.
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8. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:67]
Lori
United States
Durham
North Carolina
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Troyes
Roborally x2

Still in the high-work, low-gaming season for me.
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9. Board Game: Double Agent [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:7981]
Brad N
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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_8_ Dominion - 2 Players (x7)
_8_ Kingdom Builder - 2 Players (x2)
_8_ Stone Age - 2 Players
_6_ Double Agent - 2 Players (x2)


With the kids...
.NA. Unpublished Prototype (Moons & Stars) - 2 Players (x2)
_7_ Escape: The Curse of the Temple - 2 Players (x2)
_6_ Pictionary Junior - 5 Players
_6_ duck! duck! Go! - 2 Players
_6_ The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac - 2 Players
_6_ Magical Athlete - 4 Players


We sure have been playing a whole lotta 2 player Donald lately. I designed a quick game for a contest and played it with my kids. And, I introduced one kid to Escape: The Curse of the Temple.

(1) Double Agent - I acquired this in a trade a little while back and my brother and I tried it a few times. It's a decent, little game of bluffing for 2 players that reminds me A LOT of a game that my brother and I started to design... Double Agent turned out better than our idea.

(2) Moons & Stars - I've started designing this 16 card game which I may enter into a contest. It is basically area majority and my 10 year old gave me a theme idea (Apollo vs Artemis). We'll see if I can do something with that.

(3) Escape: The Curse of the Temple - I played it twice with my 10 year old daughter and she loved it. She'd watched her mom and I play a bunch... she was finally ready to give it a try and she did great. I think we'll be playing more of this now.
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10. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – The Spaces Between [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Andrew
United States
San Francisco
California
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I finally managed to play Keyflower, after hearing good things about it; unfortunately I didn't enjoy it so much, perhaps because it was a rather slow 5p affair (and I came last! ). Despite the limited number of rounds, there seemed to be a bit too much going on, and I was generally flummoxed. I suppose part of my poor experience was not knowing the valuation on things - I overbid to get meeple-producing buildings, but didn't get to use them enough.

I played a quick round of Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small with a very strong gamer and he crushed me, even though he doesn't play this game much!

I quite like Donald X's Greed as a light game that hits my tastes. Lately I've not had the brainpower for heavy games.

I also played a bunch of Tokaido and Dragonheart, which my opponent quite likes. I think we'll learn Takenoko next.

Warning - Netrunner spiel incoming...

So today was a store tournament - well technically there were two different stores' tournaments, and I went to the one that was earlier in the day but a bit farther away. So a lot of the week was about trying to figure out what decks to use. I had settled on my big-rig Silhouette as Runner, but I needed a Corp deck, and I didn't want to use TWIY, the powerful and easy-to-play rush deck that is in the process of being displaced by the perhaps even-more-powerful Near-Earth Hub.

So I spent a lot of time on OCTGN testing stuff out. I was inspired by playing TWIY and Supermodernism to make a rush deck, which is totally counter to my style so far. I'm familiar with and like Jinteki so it would be Harmony Medtech. Unfortunately my experiments over the last couple of weeks have been fairly miserable, especially with the Parasite Recursion meta online.

The original idea of my deck was to force "gearchecks" - playing different kinds of cheap ice so the Runner would have to search for and play the appropriate (different) icebreakers. In the meantime I would score (before the also-popular "prepaid" decks got their economic engines roaring) and try to trash some of these breakers. However the popular, powerful thing at the moment is to destroy ice with Parasites, and recur the Parasites with Clone Chip, meaning my cheap, flimsy ice didn't stand a chance.

So I scrapped that decklist and went for tougher, more expensive ice, that would "tax" the Runner - costing them more money to get through, and taking longer to succumb to Parasite. This requires more time and money, but it was more successful online. I removed gimmicky Tricks of Light and Mushin no Shin, and just played ice, econ, and the standard well-loved Jinteki traps. During face-to-face testing I was able to rez Susanoo no Mikoto for the first time ever - he's a powerful Sentry that's extremely expensive to circumvent, and he works nicely with traps in your Archives.

I also practised with one of my Australian friends online, though he insisted on using Nasir Median, probably the most unconventional identity, making that test data rather suspect... But I made a decent minor tweak to my deck as a result. My friend also managed to flatline me multiple times with a Personal Evolution deck, despite me having lots of experience playing Personal Evolution myself!

My Silhouette deck seemed to work fine, especially against slower taxing decks, but in a potentially critical error I replaced Security Testing (an economy card) with Plascrete Carapace (a defensive card). I didn't think too much of it at the time...

I arrived a bit early for the tournament, and bought Android: Netrunner – The Spaces Between at the game store; however there was nothing in there that I wanted to include in my decks.

My first round was against a very new player so we were pretty casual. He ran Making News and became very rich, very quickly, rezzing a Flare and a Tollbooth in short order and making me very nervous. Unfortunately he didn't draw his agendas and tried to make the remote impenetrable instead of trying to bluff or score out, so Silhouette took the game. I won on the Corp side when he ran into a Shock in HQ with no cards in hand. We played another casual game, and I think he got killed by a Snare.

My second round was against the eventual second place, and sadly was recorded. My Harmony deck started off well, knocking out his Corroder and Gordian Blade with net damage and forcing him to use Atman. I managed to kill that too, but he tutored a Femme Fatale and broke into my remote. Now if I had counted properly, I would have seen that I could have stopped him from winning, but for some reason I didn't, and he won! At least my Runner game didn't involve a terrible game-losing mistake (though maybe Youtube commenters will be able to find some), but despite multiple Account Siphons, I was Midseasoned for 6 tags, and even with Crash Space took a long time to dig myself out, during which he ran the Astrotrain (chained Astroscript Pilot Programs). It's funny, because I had been thinking about including Paper Tripping (which clears all tags) into my deck, but the boring conventional wisdom is that it's a bad card.

My third round was against the guy who helped me playtest my Harmony Medtech deck, so he knew its tricks and its strategy. However for the second time ever I rezzed Susanoo no Mikoto on my remote, and made him stress out about whether he was going to pay an astronomical sum to get through. He declined and I sent him to Archives, which was unfortunately devoid of traps, and which was protected by unrezzed (but threatening-looking) ice that I wasn't rich enough to rez. He ran again, and this time used an Inside Job to skip Susanoo, used up his Faerie, and crashed into a Snare. I won shortly after this demoralising event. Unfortunately despite having faced his Near Earth Hub with Silhouette earlier in the week, I couldn't get enough economy to break into his central servers consistently while he ran the Astrotrain. That missing Security Testing came back to bite...

We were playing 4-round Swiss with no cut to elimination, which I liked, and the fourth round was pretty pleasant. My opponent ran "Prepaid" Whizzard, where he stacked up Prepaid Voicepads and used them to power Lucky Find and other rubbish that made him filthy rich. Fortunately for me, I rushed out a Braintrust while he was setting up, and managed to knock out a Datasucker or two with net damage. He deployed the full Anarch rig, ran my remote on 4th click, and hit Ichi, which wiped out two thirds of that rig. He went to to access, and I stung him with a Shi Kyu, making him lose a point. Lacking breakers, he was unable to prevent me from scoring the last agenda.

In the end, I was 6th out of 14, which was a lot higher than I expected. But I only went there to get the alt-art card anyway, so it was all good.

I was surprised that Harmony (which was okay online did so well), especially compared to my Silhouette, who has been around for ages and worked decently (time to put that Security Testing back in...).

That said, I think it's time to retire the decks and try something new. I'm currently leaning towards Stronger Together with the Heinlein Grid or some version of NBN with Information Overload. I don't think Nisei Division is worth the effort - maybe for the Segfault format?
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11. Board Game: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:314]
George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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1x Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia

We discussed this last week a little and though I'm sure I could have tried slightly different strategies, the huge amount of fiddle involved and the poor ergonomics of the board mean this got a lowish rating from me.

1x Forbidden Desert

I got to try this out. Many people seem to laud the pieces of airship, which I see as garish and seem incongruent with the other components. The mechanic of a moving storm shifting the landscape is great but other than that is a poor relative of Pandemic. Nice enough but not a patch on the original (how often do I end up saying this?!).

Plus a couple of LittleGolem games finished; Slither and StreetSoccer.
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12. Board Game: Targi [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:151]
EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
United States
Folsom
CA
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I went down this weekend and played with my 5-12 year cousins a LOT. It's amazing how quickly their brains just soak it up without question. Anyway, I'll update with pictures tomorrow.

Targi 2p x1

With wife. Excellent. Still my favourite 2p. I keep wanting to write a review, but like trying to write-up Macao, I feel like I'd somehow let the game itself down, perhaps not harping on the elegance of the system, or failing to emphasize how excellently interactive the action selection is... But anyway, it was fantastic. We have a German version, and spoke only German while playing. I'm so rusty- it'll be a while until I'm fully armed and operational. I won because she messed up her tableau order by one, and failed to deny me a 6 pt card.
A-ha!





Ok- now for cousin time. I'm going to include my wife's plays as well, because, hey, we were sitting next to each other running a gaming conference of relatives and old HS friends.

Mummy's Treasure 2p 2x 4p 1x 3p 1x
Holy crap. So good we had to give it away as a gift. Emma, the sole female in a sea of male cousins, found this to be her jam. So I'm down a game, but up a gaming relative. I consider that a win.

Winner's Circle 6p 1x

Herr doktor's game truly is a magnificent gateway game. The first race was a bit of a warm-up, but by the second it was malice, malice, malice rampant among the bullrushes. As an interesting point, one of the players (and previously only really a munchkin player), offered to be bribed to use the die a certain way. I allowed it, because everyone was having fun, and I didn't want to hamper the mood, but inside I was dying. It was excellent fun (even though she did it again! For a total of 2 bribes!), and I think I made the right choice, but still. And after what I said last week. Perhaps it influenced my decision.

Also the winner, in the last race, bid on two of my horses, and sank my third. What a little crapspackle (he's 12, maybe?).



Snow Tails 4p 2x

Holy butts, this game went over a storm. They enjoyed the agency in this racing game, and even though the math confused them at first, by the end this kids managed to crush me (Well, I came in close 2nd), and give my wife a run for her money. Don't underestimate children. Their ability to absorb systems is more competent than that of many adults I've met.
They also enjoyed boosting through saplings and a curve if they were far behind- an honorable dog-assisted hara-kiri.



Candy Chaser 4p x1 2p x1

Well this went over better with kids than adults, but the more I think about the underlying systems, the more this becomes firmly ensconced as my favourite hidden role game.

Dash! A whimsical race through Singapore 5p 1x

Two of the players were old HS Tien Len buddies, so I had to show this to them. Unsurprisingly, one of them won, although two of my wee kin came in 2nd and 3rd, and me and the other "veteran" player were at the rear. I both love this game, and hate how I seem to make bad decisions for minimal game. I feel like I'm actually doing worse now than when I first started.



Risk Express 3p 1x

I gave them this, as they enjoyed it a fair amount.

OddVille 4p 1x

I thought it was going to be too much, but guess what. They not only ate it up, but destroyed me too, stealing both of my fountain locations for mucho pointage. Gifted it to them, as my wife is somewhat dispassionate about this game.

BANG! The Dice Game 5p 1x
It went down aight. Nothing special. Thinking of trading or selling. Meatballs interested?


So, in summation, down three games, but up 4 gamers. So, you know, there is that.


EDIT: You can't really see the kids, but they're there! Just... smaller than us bigguns.
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13. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:238] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Samo Oleami
Slovenia
Ljubljana
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Thursday eurogamers' session

I wasn't really keen on going, but on our forums there was talk and interest about another game of Imperial. Yet, I had a meeting beforehand, and was late for an hour. Guys started something "short" without me, but it wasn't that short. Actually it was so long, playing Imperial afterwards was impossible (I have no idea what they were doing as Eminent Domain never seemed that long to me, but took them 2 hours, with explanation).

First I was on another table, waiting for them to finish, so we played 4 rounds of Coup. I won the first one, but then my over reliance on Captain (or claiming to be one), became too obvious. I need to diversify.

With lack of other ideas, I suggested Small World, even though I knew I don't stand a chance. I suspected the group I was in, was susceptible to groupthink problems, not knowing who to target and when and that someone will just run away with it (and it's never me, as I'm the loud dude explaining the rules). Guess what happened. Yup. Still, it was more amusing than playing worker placement instead. Though I'm having second thoughts about this game (as I get my regular doses of CITOW) - have to play it with a more fitting group to see if my attitude changed, or it was just a weird group.

Anyhow, at the end of the session there was this talk of 12 player Mascarade! I was interested as I never played with more than 10 and these would be my first games with the Widow and Inquisitor. One guy was especially loud at advocating for this game, as "12 players should be really awesome".

So we sit down and oh how many roles and of course, in the first round someone claims to be a Thief - the role which isn't present in the 12 player game. Okay, moving on. Halfway though the game, we see one card in the middle of the table and no one claiming it. We try to figure out what's going on, when we realise, there was actually only 11 of us at all times. Everybody turns towards our "promoter of 12 player Mascarade". And laughs. It was hilarious. He also had widow, so the card was taken out, and a long lost second peasant found.
Now remember the guy, that claimed to be a Thief, well one turn later, he didn't really know who he was:
"I'm the widow"
"Uhm, we just took that card out of the game".


Some turns of paranoia later, and lots of card exchanges, there was a huge pile of money on the courthouse and someone claimed to be a judge. Which was funny, I just had a spy and I knew the judge was laying right there before me. Sweet victory!

Second game, only 10 players this time (as the person who promoted Mascarade left... and there was a holiday the next day... weeeeird). This time around, things went the usually way - chaos, paranoia, everything that ought to happen in this game. Only I gave the victory to someone else as I forgot to follow where the 2nd peasant was (with the person who had 11 gold, oops). Oh well.

The game certainly lifted my mood somewhat.

Monthly casual Saturday.

This time around there was just 3 of us, no kids. Actually I decided to hold the event just as I enjoy playing with these two players, and they provide me with a ride (they live nearby). We had 4 hours and I brought Arkham Horror the perfect 3 player game for a lazy Saturday morning.

It was a really nice, laid back experience. We had tons of good items from the start. Actually we started probably too well. My rich aristocrat loaded with everything one might need and then some (girl had a motorcycle) stumbled upon unfortunate event in the outer worlds, lost 6 sanity and was devoured. Just like that. We also had the researcher who took half the game to use the Elder sign she had from the start (as the player was really paranoid), and the archaeologist who ended the game with tons of special equipment and whatnot, he probably retired and lives in a huge mansion. Anyhow, I took another character - the scientist, who started the game being sucked into a portal and then I spent entire game screaming "For Science!" (the name of her special power) while I decimated various creatures with my trusty magical sword. I then sold the specimens to university for clues (and hopefully a raise). Things went smooth, no rumours, nothing too drastic and we won. Right on time as well.

Now I'm curious about Eldritch Horror - I have a borrowed copy at home, with a plan to check it out one of these days.
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